Pray for your enemies......
By the time you read this short devotion, much has happened that may have changed our country. There is great angst, sorrow and anger being directed at the Democrats, the Republicans, the “Squad”, the media and the billionaires (who have far too much influence over the national discourse.)
Over the past few days my friends have called or written me stunned, depressed and in doubt of their future (and our nation’s) because of what we have all witnessed over the past twelve months; astounding things that have happened over the past five days that cause all of us to pause and pray. I have never seen our nation so divided and I can’t recall a times when one could hear such hatred and prejudice spilling out from media anchors, journalists, pastors, and, of course, our politicians. It is mind-boggling to read such bias from major newspapers and respected reporters. Truly, more restraint is afforded to despots and dictators of third-world nations than the networks are giving to our national leaders.
My friends ask me, “What are we supposed to do and now… and how are we to pray?” Well, our first prayer should be one of thanksgiving: “Thank you God for not giving us what we deserve!” Does anyone have the right to complain that we, or our nation, deserve better? I have pastor friends and Christian leaders that read these blogs (and I may have fewer after tonight), but it’s obvious that those of who lead in churches and ministries have failed. We preach and teach and “market” our churches, ministries and Christian camps as a place where attendees will be blessed; we suggest that somehow by attending or joining, things will be “go well for you”. Our focus is upon our selves(!), our own “growth”, self-improvement and personal fortunes; we hope to meet people at church or Bible studies that might be able to help us in the future, et al. And so we avoid preaching, discussing or teaching anything that might cause folks to yawn, make them uncomfortable or, worse, stop them from contributing or coming.
The church is not a place to go to be a place to go to be blessed, but a place to attend because we are blessed! We go to remind our ourselves of who we are and whose we are. Christian camps and Christian charities should never have been created or sustained to compete with government or secular camps, conferences or charitable organizations! We exist for the sole purpose sharing the good news of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, bringing lost souls to God, and equipping and preparing the saints to perform their tasks. He did not die to make our lives easier, more pleasure-filled or even “safer”—He calls us to be broken wine and poured out wine, for goodness sakes!
We talk about all that is wrong in our nation, our communities and our families, but then look to the same institutions that got us into this mess to get us out! What is wrong us??? We are not doing what Jesus told His disciples to do set things straight! His command today would be simple: Love your enemies and pray for those that spitefully us you. I have not been doing this and I don’t ever expect to see this from the present Democratic or Republican leadership. I might say I love those that are hurting my nation, but I have not been loving them. I have talked about it, but I have not committed myself to praying for those that are laughing at things I hold sacred, mocking those that believe to be true, or ridiculing those of who hold fast to our Christian faith.
I don’t call myself a prophet, but sometimes I do get things right. And here’s where I think I am right—-and it causes me to be encouraged and emboldened! I believe that the present events will pull God’s people back to church; I believe that churches will expect pastors and priests to be the under-shepherds they were ordained to be—-not the CEOs, placaters and fund-raisers they feel they are required to be. I believe that the present leadership will bring Christians in Americans to their knees…….and that the fourth great awakening will be kindled.